During my 27-year Air Force career, I was often asked to go on assignment with the Inspector General team. When I told someone I sometimes worked with that team, I got different reactions ranging from apprehension to bewilderment.
The name Inspector General often invokes images of an intrusive inspection team, scurrying around a duty section with checklists and technical orders, highlighting all the faults. The reality was my first responsibility was complaints resolution, and checking on my printers.
A successful complaint resolution program is designed to enhance the organization’s discipline, readiness and warfighting capability. Complaints help commanders discover and correct problems affecting the productivity and morale of assigned personnel. It also may prevent more severe symptoms or costly consequences, such as reduced performance, accidents, poor quality work, poor morale or loss of resources.
My assignment with the team was somewhat different than the other members. My job was to inspect the printing department, either stateside or overseas, to make sure all our equipment was in good working order. I repaired the equipment if needed.
If they needed parts that I did not have with me, I ordered that part. If they had a complaint I could not handle, which were very few, I took it back to my base to my officer in charge. All of these printing departments were always glad to see me. I knew most of the printers and they knew I was there to help them.
My goal was to get their equipment in working order, and give them a pep talk on performing their duties and being an active member of our Air Force.
(The late Everett Vanover, a contributing writer for many years for The Mountain Eagle, was born in Jenkins and lived in California.)